The Early Korea Project at the Korea Institute, Harvard University

July 5, 2018

From 2006 to 2018, the Early Korea Project at the Korea Institute, Harvard University was dedicated to the development of academic study of early Korean history and archaeology, focusing on the periods prior to the tenth century C.E. Primarily through lectures, workshops, and publications, the Early Korea Project fostered active relationships with scholars around the world whose research involves early Korea, generating a truly vibrant and interconnected community. Under the direction and vision of Dr. Mark Byington, Project Director, the Early Korea Project made significant contributions to the field with the utmost integrity of scholarship and dedication to academic research.

Founded and directed by Dr. Mark Byington, the Early Korea Project offered a breadth of activities including a Lecture Series, Workshop Series, and Publications Program, as well as teaching, research, and outreach. Papers presented at Early Korea Project lectures and workshops yielded a body of published work to the benefit of scholars, teachers, and researchers, now and in the years to come. Of particular signifance are the Early Korea and the Early Korea Project Occasional Series. Eight volumes in total, these publications contain the most up-to-date scholarship on early Korea available in English and lay a solid foundation for the study of early Korea in the global academic community. The productive output of so many publications in only ten years is the result of extraordinarily sustained efforts, cultivated through years of research and scholarly discipline, reflecting the highest standards for academic integrity.

None of this would have been possible without Dr. Mark Byington’s unflagging dedication and indefatigable efforts to bring scholars together, support them in their research, and produce top quality publications.

Since its inception, the Early Korea Project received generous multi-year support from the Academy of Korean Studies, Korea Foundation, and Northeast Asian History Foundation, as well as event and publications support from the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard Asia Center, Harvard-Yenching Institute, Korea Society, and the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies.

The Early Korea Project at a Glance

Lecture Series: 37 individual lecturers (in 36 events).
Workshop Series: 46 presenters and 50 discussants (in 9 workshops)
Publications Program: 8 titles


Byington, Mark E. Early Korea 1: Reconsidering Early Korea History Through Archaeology.
Cambridge, MA: Korea Institute, Harvard University, 2008.

Byington, Mark E. Early Korea 2: The Samhan Period of Korean History.
Cambridge, MA: Korea Institute, Harvard University, 2009.

McBride II, Richard D. State and Society in Middle and Late Silla.
Cambridge, MA: Korea Institute, Harvard University, 2010.

Byington, Mark E. Early Korea 3: The Rediscovery of Kaya in History and Archaeology.
Cambridge, MA: Korea Institute, Harvard University, 2012

Kim, Youn-mi. New Perspectives on Early Korean Art: From Silla to Koryŏ.
Cambridge, MA: Korea Institute, Harvard University, 2013

Byington, Mark E. The Han Commanderies in Early Korean History.
Cambridge, MA: Korea Institute, Harvard University, 2013.

Byington, Mark E. The History and Archaeology of the Koguryŏ Kingdom
Cambridge, MA: Korea Institute, Harvard University, 2016.

Bale, Martin T., Byington, Mark E., Sasaki, Ken’ichi, Early Korea-Japan Interactions

Cambridge, MA: Korea Institute, Harvard University, 2018.

Links:


University of Hawaii Press: https://www.uhpress.hawaii.edu

Early Korea Project activities and publications from 2007-2018: https://korea.fas.harvard.edu/early-korea-project

Early Korea Project lectures and seminars on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/channels/ekp

The scholarly community established by the Early Korea Project continues to be active on the Early Korea Project Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Early.Korea.Project

“The Early Korea Project, led by Dr. Mark Byington, has been a transformative institution in the study of Ancient East Asia. Through a combination of invited lectures, intensive workshops and stunning high-quality publications, EKP set a new standard of scholarly discourse on a wide range of interrelated subjects that demolished traditional disciplinary boundaries and transcended political borders, bringing the importance of the ancient societies of the Korean peninsula into a geographically, conceptually and historically broad context. I cannot overemphasize how much my own development as a scholar who works on late prehistoric China have been informed and influenced by the EKP programs. I benefitted tremendously from participation in the various workshops that were held - sometimes as a formal discussant or commentator, and in other cases as an eager attendee. The range of topics covered the critical issues in the study of ancient Korea and surrounding areas, from trans-regional interactions, to early settlements and communities, to the development of agriculture, to state formation, and the workshops always strove to make clear and interrogate assumptions about why these topics are important not only in historical studies, but also to our understanding of contemporary East Asia. Eight publications have been produced by the EKP over the 10 years of the project, representing an outstanding contribution to the field. Not only are the contents of the three issues of Early Korea and the Early Korea Project Occasional Series excellent in the quality of the papers and chapters, they are also high-quality artifacts, printed on good paper with fine illustrations. The EKP has made a real impact on the field. This is the highest praise that can be given.”

-Rowan Flad, Harvard University

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